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October 2010
 
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Community Voices

The St. Catherine Choral Society artfully blends students, staff, faculty, community members and professional musicians.

BY PAULINE OO | PHOTOGRAPHY BY KRIS DRAKE

Patricia ConnorsIn 1993, Professor of Music Patricia Connors founded the St. Catherine Choral Society to give her students a mixed choir in which to hone their vocal chops and give members of the St. Kate's community an opportunity to participate in high-quality performances of choral masterworks.

The Choral Society performs a concert each fall and spring with professional musicians who play with the likes of the Minnesota Orchestra or the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Society membership ranges between 70 and 90 singers.
Connors, who chairs St. Kate's Department of Music and Theater, handpicks each member. Auditions are held in August and January.

Singers who make the cut don't have to re-audition if they want to sing the following year. Connors always saves about 20 spots for St. Kate's students.

Rehearsals, which are held each Thursday evening at 7 p.m. in the Music Building, begin with stretching and vocal warm-up exercises. Connors also peppers each session with tips on vocal technique, diction and rhythmic vitality.

"Her ear is amazing," says choir member and high school teacher Jenny Madden. "She can hear all those different voice parts and knows immediately when just one of us is off. Singing with her is like having a mini voice lesson every time."

Upcoming Concerts

  • Haydn Nelson Mass, Paulus Break Forth in Song
    Sunday, November 14, 2010
    2 p.m.

    Holy Spirit Church,
    515 South Albert Street, St. Paul
    Admission: $10/$5

  • PREMIER: Jocelyn Hagen's Ashes of Roses
    Sunday, May 8, 2011
    3 p.m.

    The O'Shaughnessy
    Admission: $10/$5
 
  • photo Angela Nietz "I joined in my first semester and was really intimidated because most of the people in the choir were older than me. But I've grown to like that. Everyone's really helpful and always has good advice on music or for my classes."
    —Angela Nietz, soprano,
    St. Kate's junior, biology major
  • photo Mark Brandt "I wouldn't want to miss a rehearsal. Patty's a really enjoyable director. I also like the fact that we perform with a professional orchestra. When it all comes together, we're not just a group practicing with one pianist in a little rehearsal room."
    —Mark Brandt, tenor,
    high school physics teacher"
  • photo Jenny Madden "The music is hard, and that is what's good about it. We want to sing challenging music. Patty keeps me moving and growing as a singer."
    —Jenny Madden, soprano,
    high school French and math teacher
  • photo Bill Myers "People come and go, but there is a core group of us who have really gelled and gained experience under Patty's direction. We do get giddy once in a while and laugh a lot in rehearsals, but we temper that with hard work."
    —Bill Myers, tenor,
    St. Kate's philosophy professor
  • photo Elizabeth Kerwin, CSJ "I love to sing, and this choir is also a wonderful opportunity to get to know some students and faculty — and other people in the neighborhood."
    —Elizabeth Kerwin, CSJ, alto,
    spiritual director
  • photo Choral Society singers 
  • photo A Choral Society singer 
  • photo Choral Society singers